Portent http://www.10tiangua.com Digital Marketing Agency - Seattle, WA Tue, 14 Jul 2020 19:13:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 http://www.10tiangua.com/images/2018/11/favicon.png Portent http://www.10tiangua.com 32 32 Showcase It: Why Every E-Commerce Retailer Should Be Using Showcase Shopping Ads http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/ppc/showcase-it-why-every-e-commerce-retailer-should-be-using-showcase-shopping-ads.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/ppc/showcase-it-why-every-e-commerce-retailer-should-be-using-showcase-shopping-ads.htm#respond Tue, 14 Jul 2020 14:00:09 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53564 If you’re an e-commerce retailer advertising with Google Ads, you’re almost certainly utilizing shopping campaigns already. Shopping campaigns allow you to generate product listing ad impressions on the Google search engine results page (SERP), using the product data housed in your Google Merchant Center account. Not only does Google take advantage of all the various […]

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If you’re an e-commerce retailer advertising with Google Ads, you’re almost certainly utilizing shopping campaigns already. Shopping campaigns allow you to generate product listing ad impressions on the Google search engine results page (SERP), using the product data housed in your Google Merchant Center account. Not only does Google take advantage of all the various signals present in your product feed to generate a relatively large number of ad impressions, but you’re also eligible to show multiple product listing ads on a single SERP (versus a maximum of one text ad). And, you’re usually able to acquire clicks for lower average costs for competitive, non-branded search terms.

Essentially, if you’re an e-commerce retailer on Google Ads and you’re not using shopping campaigns, what are you doing? Get on that. Today. Seriously.

Compared to traditional text ads, shopping campaigns give you an opportunity to increase revenue at improved return on ad spend (ROAS) levels for non-branded search terms. However, these campaigns don’t give much control over ad creative; you’re limited to utilizing the content and images that are in your product feed. With Google’s product image policies and uniform ad format on the SERP, it can be hard to really stand out against your competitors selling similar products. How can you gain a competitive edge without just resorting to lowering prices or offering discounts?

There’s another solution that allows you to show potential customers more aesthetically-compelling images alongside your product listings: Showcase Shopping ads. These ads can better appeal to users a bit higher up in the funnel who still need to be persuaded that your product is the right one for them. Showing a more compelling visual that better enables a potential customer to envision themselves using your product could be the mental kickstart they need to click through and research further.

How Showcase Ads Work

Think of a Showcase ad like a featured image in a product catalog. It’s the main image that draws your attention before focusing on the related products associated with that image. Google allows you to upload a high-quality image (1.91:1 aspect ratio) which will then be eligible to show at the top of a SERP on a mobile or tablet device:

Image courtesy of Google

These images can help increase your click-through rate for shopping campaigns because they stick out. Furthermore, because these ads exclusively generate impressions on mobile devices, they take up a lot of room at the top of the SERP (which also helps improve click-through rates).

If a user decides to click on your Showcase ad image, it expands to show the user associated product listing ads generated from your product feed. A user can then scroll through your product and click through on one that they like, or they can click through your main Showcase image to a landing page you specify. Depending on how particular your image is to a specific category of products, you can set filters at the campaign or ad group level to ensure only certain product listings show up alongside your Showcase image.

For more specific instructions, you can reference Google’s step-by-step guide.

Increase Shopping Ad Impression Volume

Having a robust set of Showcase shopping campaigns comparable to your standard shopping campaigns can increase your total shopping ad impression volume by more than 10%. Take a look at data from one of our clients from the past 12 months:

The standard shopping campaign received 528,460,346 impressions and 5,523,114 clicks, with a CTR of 1.05% and ROAS of 694%. The Showcase shopping campaign 56,877,713 impressions and 510,292 clicks, with a CTR of .90% and ROAS of 657%.

We generated 11% more impressions with Showcase Shopping ads than we would have otherwise, which resulted in 9% additional clicks, which converted at similar ROAS levels. Our revenue levels increased an extra 5% just by ensuring we had a set of Showcase Shopping campaigns to match our other shopping campaigns.

Tips and Best Practices

Before you go off to create your own set of Showcase Shopping campaigns, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Use product category filters to ensure the product listing ads that show up with your Showcase ad correlate with each other.
  • Have at least three ads per ad group and let Google rotate through them to find the best-performing image asset.
  • Test different landing pages with each of your Showcase image assets if applicable.
  • Use the same bidding strategies and audience targets (RLSA) that have proven successful for your standard shopping campaigns.
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The Best Post-COVID-19 Content Marketing Strategy http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/the-best-post-covid-19-content-marketing-strategy.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/the-best-post-covid-19-content-marketing-strategy.htm#respond Thu, 09 Jul 2020 14:00:50 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53549 The idea of a post-COVID-19 world feels alien and unattainable. As it stands, we’re still wandering through mostly uncharted, and widespread marketplace changes caused by the novel coronavirus. Add in the back-to-back plot twists that 2020’s scriptwriters fancy, and we’re all left with bated breath. Nobody knows the next subplot to drop in this year’s […]

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The idea of a post-COVID-19 world feels alien and unattainable. As it stands, we’re still wandering through mostly uncharted, and widespread marketplace changes caused by the novel coronavirus. Add in the back-to-back plot twists that 2020’s scriptwriters fancy, and we’re all left with bated breath.

Nobody knows the next subplot to drop in this year’s manic script, but businesses need to develop a post-COVID-19 digital strategy now if they want to survive what comes next.

Thankfully, the solutions to our combined ignorance — new messaging strategies, user testing, and industry analysis — illuminate what consumers want, need, and how they react to this pandemic and other recent socio-economic turbulence.

Using these insights, we can prepare for the unknown through strategies that embrace the chaos.

The Best Post-Coronavirus Content Marketing Strategy

The following content marketing strategy is a lump-sum tactic. Although you’ll benefit from implementing any of these ideas, I designed this plan to thrive with complementary, almost codependent rules.

Rule 1: You Must Be Authentic, Transparent, and Vulnerable

New user research shows us that consumers are experiencing a breadth of emotional responses to COVID-19. The pandemic-fueled lifestyle changes, health risks, and global economic toll weigh heavily on people’s minds.

While we’re in a peak-COVID scenario, the best way to confront how users feel is to “read the room” and address the root cause of those feelings head-on with practical, candid, and supportive content.

When people and companies eventually transition to a post-pandemic lifestyle, brands that evolve their peak-COVID content to embrace authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability will soar above the competition.

Vulnerability and transparency, which are the building blocks of authenticity, are among the most powerful tools in your arsenal as a business or marketer — especially when users are afraid, frustrated, and uncertain.

Here’s how and why this rule works.

First, the definitions:

  • Transparency: how much information you share
  • Vulnerability: the truth and meaning behind your actions and words

In the before time, when “normal” still existed, 94 percent of consumers said they are more loyal to transparent brands, and 86 percent of consumers said brand transparency is a core conversion factor.

When your content and marketing messages combine users’ desires for transparency with vulnerability, you create empowering and meaningful content that transcends people’s fear and invigorates their sense of connection and community; key motivating factors of user-brand trust, loyalty, and conversions.

This outcome is because we recognize when someone is being vulnerable, and we instinctively invest in their story and develop an emotional bond with the storyteller. The more emotionally attached we are to the storyteller, the more we care about the story they tell.

Consequently, any COVID-related content you produce should marinate in the following ingredients:

  • Empathy
  • Support
  • Authenticity
  • Gratitude
  • Bravery
  • Humbleness

If your content isn’t telling a story rich with these components, go back to the drawing board and come up with a more inclusive idea. Here are a few examples of brands embracing this rule with various types of peak-COVID content:

If you want to learn more about this rule, read my separate analysis for a deep dive into how to create transparent and vulnerable content.

Rule 2: Gather User-Generated Content

The self-quarantine and isolation created by COVID-19 has left people feeling alone and yearning for connections. These feelings and desires are why user-generated content (UGC) is an optimal way to reach users with peak-and-post COVID-19 content marketing.

Thoughtful UGC creates user-user bonds and taps into subconscious associations people have about friends and family, which is why 92 percent of users trust earned media, like UGC, more than other brand content. You can use UGC to improve your brand’s social proof, user trust, and create opportunities for human connection—which are all qualities of beloved, high-converting brands.

Poll your users and determine what COVID-related stories they want to share. Learn what information they want to dissect, and then determine the best ways for your brand to provide users with a platform to share and be heard.

Another option is to provide your employees with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. If you choose this approach, make sure your brand doesn’t moderate the stories. Be vulnerable and let employees share freely, without fear of censorship or retaliation.

Here are a few examples of great UGC campaigns for inspiration (not all are COVID-related):

Rule 3: Be Nimble. Listen Slow. Pivot Fast

There are several hidden benefits of embracing vulnerable messaging and gathering user-generated content during the pandemic. Among the most powerful is the chance to listen to what users are saying and pivot toward their desires and needs.

COVID-19 gave consumers the chance to slow down and reevaluate what they need, how they shop, and why they interact with brands. And businesses that will survive and thrive in the “new normal” must embrace the most crucial rule of marketing: understand what problems your users have and determine how you can solve them.

If you’re preparing for a post-pandemic digital strategy, you must listen to why users’ needs have changed, how these changes affect their willingness to resume “normal” behaviors, and what changes can comfort or reassure them.

To hear what customers need, you should keep an ear on industry forums, relevant subreddits, social media, and customer emails. Poll users and run ample tests. Closely watch how other brands pivot. Become an avid supporter of your users.

Ultimately, you need to track these attitudes like they are your company’s heartbeat monitor. And you must be willing to pivot in whatever direction users tell you they need. Because attitudes toward the peak-and-post COVID-19 world change nearly every week, and it’s unlikely what worked great last month will still be valid two months in the future.

Here are a couple of examples of how companies have pivoted their services to accommodate shifting user needs and earn customer trust:

A Strange, New World

For better or worse, the world has changed in novel ways. Users are approaching brands for new purposes and with new mentalities.

Now and for the foreseeable future, brands must prioritize messaging around people first, their communities second, and the brand or product third. You need to be vulnerable and transparent in your content, and you must give users the chance to interact and build meaningful connections.

Are you going to embrace the user-first world that COVID awakened, or linger on past strategies and become one with the dinosaurs?

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How To Launch Google Analytics Tracking Code Through Google Tag Manager http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/analytics/how-to-launch-google-analytics-tracking-code-through-google-tag-manager.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/analytics/how-to-launch-google-analytics-tracking-code-through-google-tag-manager.htm#respond Tue, 07 Jul 2020 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53537 You have a website. Google Analytics code is hard-coded on the back-end, per the out-of-the-box GA installation instructions. And it’s working! You’re getting channel data, reporting on insights, and can tell which landing pages are best. Why would you want to change your configuration? Google Tag Manager (GTM), or other tag management solutions, can provide […]

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You have a website. Google Analytics code is hard-coded on the back-end, per the out-of-the-box GA installation instructions. And it’s working! You’re getting channel data, reporting on insights, and can tell which landing pages are best.

Why would you want to change your configuration?

Google Tag Manager (GTM), or other tag management solutions, can provide additional data and expand on your reporting. If you’re not convinced about using a tag management solution yet, read this first.

GTM can measure data such as clicks, form conversions, and other specific engagement metrics relevant to your business.

If you’re already using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager (or want to start using Google Tag Manager), you’re a good candidate for this solution: implementing Google Analytics code through Google Tag Manager.

This post will outline how to launch Google Analytics code through Google Tag Manager.

Benefits of Launching Google Analytics Through Google Tag Manager

There are a number of technical benefits to hosting Google Analytics code in Google Tag Manager.

Append Data in GTM Before Sending It to GA

By capturing data in GTM before sending it into GA, you can append and manage data collection, so that it’s cleaner going into your GA platform.

For example, if you want to measure site search tracking, but your URLs aren’t configured with the correct query parameter structure, you can use GTM to intake URL data, and parse out internal site search terms in a way that the Google Analytics report can read them.

Custom Dimensions and Metrics

GA doesn’t have the dimension or metric you want? No problem. You can create them in Google Analytics, and use GTM to assign what data maps back to them.

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Cross-Domain Tracking

Another common reporting pitfall is incomplete cross-domain tracking between domains. Check out GTM expert Oeuyown Kim‘s post, where she walks through how to build a cross-domain tracking solution if you want more info on that.

And More!

Google has provided additional documentation on features and configurations that can be utilized by launching Google Analytics through GTM.

How to Do It

Here’s what you’ll need to set up Google Analytics through GTM:

  • Google Analytics code
  • Edit/Publish access in your Google Tag Manager container
  • Access to the back-end code of your website

You’ll want to start the process by opening Google Tag Manager.

Create a Custom Variable for Your UA Code

Under the “Variables” section of Tag Manager, click the “New” button at the top right corner of “User-Defined Variables.”

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Select the “Google Analytics Settings” variable type.

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Insert the Tracking ID from Google Analytics and Save.

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Create a Google Analytics Tag

In the “Tags” section of GTM, select “New” to create a new tag. Click “Tag Configuration” and select “Google Analytics: Universal Analytics” as the tag type.

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Select “Page View” as the Track Type, your custom Google Analytics Variable as the Google Analytics Settings, and set the tag to fire on “All Pages.”

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DO NOT PUBLISH YET. Do you have Google Analytics code hard-coded on your website? If so, it must be removed first.

If GTM is published before Google Analytics code is removed, then there are two sets of code collecting data and sending it back to one Google Analytics profile. This can result in erroneous and incorrect data, such as:

  • Double-counting events and metrics
  • Artificially low bounce rate
  • Some sessions are counted twice

For this reason, we recommend removing any hard-coded GA tracking from your website first.

Remove Hard-Coded Google Analytics Code From Your Website

If you don’t have access to the back-end of your website, coordinate this with your web developer or web administrator. Remember that if you remove GA code, and don’t publish your GTM container shortly after, you’ll lose data tracking for that time period. Therefore, you don’t want a big time gap between removing hard-coded GA code and publishing your GTM container.

This brings us to the final step…

Publish Your GTM Container

You’re ready to publish your GTM container! After you’ve published, monitor Google Analytics to ensure that data is still coming through.

That’s it!

What’s Next?

There should be no gaps in your reporting, and all data should look the same in GA as it did before. Hosting GA code in GTM, rather than hard-coding it on your website, simply changes the data collection mechanism, not the data itself, and there should not be any difference in data trends.

And now, you have the added benefit of flexibility with configuring GA and web tracking from GTM. If you’re feeling ambitious, consider implementing some additional settings on your Google Analytics tag for improved reporting!

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The Top 5 Digital Services You Didn’t Know You Need (But Every Business Should Have) http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/the-top-digital-services-you-didnt-know-you-need-but-every-business-should-have.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/the-top-digital-services-you-didnt-know-you-need-but-every-business-should-have.htm#respond Thu, 02 Jul 2020 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53527 I’ve thought a lot recently about what it means to have a truly comprehensive, integrated digital marketing strategy. Does it mean investing in a few powerful channels and ignoring the rest? Does it mean investing in all channels equally, regardless of your industry, and how your customers consume information? Of course not. It means having […]

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I’ve thought a lot recently about what it means to have a truly comprehensive, integrated digital marketing strategy. Does it mean investing in a few powerful channels and ignoring the rest? Does it mean investing in all channels equally, regardless of your industry, and how your customers consume information? Of course not. It means having the right mix of channels and tactics for your business while being careful not to outright discount any of them.

While I’d consider myself an athlete, I am in no way a gym enthusiast. However, I do know that if you consistently only work out the big muscle groups, you’re making a big mistake. To get your body in shape, you must pay attention to the health of the smaller muscle groups—many of which you didn’t even know about. (Ever heard of the popliteus? Me neither but it’s really important.) Of course, you need to focus on the muscles that you plan to use more than others, but if you don’t pay attention to your body as a complete system, you’re bound to get injured. The same goes for digital marketing for your business.

When most businesses need digital marketing services, they’re normally looking for those big muscle groups – SEO, PPC, or content strategy. They’re easy to understand, and it’s very apparent when one of those is not working. If your site isn’t getting enough organic visitors or your competitors are ranked higher in search engines, you need SEO. If you need quick promotion and want to try digital advertising, PPC is your thing. If your site is confusing and you’re not sure how to talk about your product or service in the right way, you need to focus on content strategy. These are all components of a solid digital marketing strategy. But there are some less-obvious yet just as critical digital marketing services that are equally essential. And just like that popliteus, you should know about them.

Here are the top five digital marketing service that you should really pay attention to:

1. Analytics

Okay, this one isn’t tiny, and yes, many people are aware they should pay attention to it. But surprisingly, it is one of the most neglected services. I can’t tell you how many times we’ll get a client that hasn’t claimed analytics as a service they need, only to open the hood of their current digital marketing efforts and see a seemingly impossible mess of data.

The reason why analytics makes the top of the list is that it’s perhaps the single most important digital marketing service. If you can’t read your data correctly, then at best you’re flying blind. At worst, you’re reading the map upside down and going further away from your goal instead of closer. In the Portent Marketing Stack, it’s listed as both a 5/5 for longevity and risk. It’s how you measure effectiveness for all digital marketing services.

2. Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO strategists are miracle workers. They come in, diagnose why customers aren’t flowing through your site and converting, and then poof, they disappear. Well, they don’t usually leave; they diagnose new issues and keep chipping away until your marketing funnel is smooth and clutter-free. Imagine a 14% increase in conversion with a simple test. Even a 3% supercharge could be game-changing.

3. Influencer Marketing

Endorsements are nothing new, especially in traditional media. However, as new technology media open up, the breadth of influencers is growing exponentially. The upside is that there are thousands of influencers over dozens of platforms to choose from. The downside is that there are thousands of influencers over dozens of platforms to choose from. There is quality out there that will work for your business, but you need to know where to look.

At Portent, we’ve been particularly interested in YouTube and podcast influencers. We’ve found that targeting quality influencers doesn’t need to be expensive. You don’t need to find the biggest star on the block, just one who’s channel matches your product or service and can be authentic and passionate. Results can be mind-blowing. Not only will you see a major channel for referral traffic, but there is a powerful halo effect that impacts organic traffic as well.

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However, it’s tricky to find the right influencers. But once you do, it’ll be a huge compliment to your marketing strategy.

4. Outreach (Digital PR)

Much like “traditional” SEO, outreach is all about the long game. The goal for outreach is to get quality backlinks and increase the organic visibility (and therefore the domain authority) of your site. Links built take an average of six to twelve weeks, sometimes longer, to impact your site (hence the “long game”). There are a handful of tactics that outreach strategists use, but the bread and butter is content promotion, which is widely promoting quality, newsworthy, often data-driven content to relevant media outlets and publications across the internet. A skilled outreach strategist can get links back to your site from extremely relevant online publications which can greatly impact your rankings.

Another approach they might use is HARO (Help a Reporter Out) requests. They’ll find opportunities for your subject-matter experts to answer questions that a reporter can use as a quote. Hopefully it comes with a link and voila, another tick towards a higher domain authority.

Guest posting, utility link building, and link reclamation are other tactics that outreach strategists are using to build authority, and while they are valuable in their own right, they should mainly be used as a support to your main outreach strategies like content promotion and HAROs.

5. Video Marketing

It’s true, there is a lot of video on the internet, but a lot of it is pretty poor. It just takes a little bit of effort and a good video marketing strategy to rise above the clutter. Video marketing pretty much ends up on the “top five digital trends” list every year and has for the last five years. That won’t stop anytime soon.

There are so many ways to use video on or off your site. There are instructional videos, video white papers, and customer testimonials, among tons of other uses. There’s also live video for webinars, product releases, and other events. According to Cisco, by 2021, 80% of traffic will be video related. It’s easily shareable, suited for almost every device, and makes information much easier to consume. The Digital Marketing Institute has a fantastic article that explains why video is only getting hotter.

I get it, every service you add to the mix is another piece of the budget and another channel (and perhaps agency) that you need to manage. But the five services I’ve listed above are essential components to a healthy digital marketing strategy. Find an agency that can work these into your marketing mix, and good things will come.

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How to Use BigQuery in Your Digital Marketing Workflow http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/analytics/how-to-use-bigquery-in-your-digital-marketing-workflow.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/analytics/how-to-use-bigquery-in-your-digital-marketing-workflow.htm#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2020 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53500 Bringing big data into your life as a marketer in small doses. “Big data” analysis and the insights that come from it can seem untouchable to all but the largest organizations with extensive teams of analysts and data scientists. But there are many ways marketers with some basic understanding of SQL and smaller teams can […]

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Bringing big data into your life as a marketer in small doses.

“Big data” analysis and the insights that come from it can seem untouchable to all but the largest organizations with extensive teams of analysts and data scientists. But there are many ways marketers with some basic understanding of SQL and smaller teams can take advantage of larger data sets without a lot of resources. One of those ways is BigQuery. Let’s dive into a few of the ways anybody can access this technology and build on it.

GA 360 Integration

One of the biggest benefits for shelling out the $150K/year it takes to get a Google Analytics 360 license is being able to liberate your web analytics data from the Analytics UI and perform SQL-style queries on it in BigQuery. There’s also plenty of acceleration to be found in connecting BigQuery tables to Google Data Studio. Visualizing millions of rows becomes lightning fast.

Go to Admin > Property > Product Linking > All Products and choose BigQuery.

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Then it allows you to choose which BigQuery project and which GA views to link along with the streaming frequency (i.e., how often you want data sent from GA to BigQuery).

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Once the integration is enabled, it can take up to 24 hours to populate the BigQuery tables with all the historical data in your Google Analytics account.

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Firebase Integration

If your company has an app or several apps, Firebase has plenty of data you can also ship out to BigQuery for more comprehensive analysis. Firebase’s built-in retention reporting can be limiting, and having that raw data in BigQuery gives app marketers a lot more flexibility.

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Go to Admin > Integrations and choose BigQuery to start the connection.

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The ensuing settings menu allows you to choose which apps represented in Firebase you want to include in the export. It also lets you decide whether you want to include advertising IDs in your export, which can be really handy for matching up app download ad campaigns with usage.

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Once the connection is created, you can find not just the analytics tables in BigQuery, but also a few separate Firebase-specific data sets around crashes and predictive models.

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Flat File Integration

Lastly, Google Cloud Storage allows you to upload large .csv files and port them to BigQuery as tables. As marketers, we are often sent large, unwieldy files from vendors or other internal stakeholders that would absolutely melt our laptops if we tried to just open them in Excel, let alone do any meaningful analysis. BigQuery gives us a great way around that by essentially turning these files into a database we can parse through quickly.

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Once you upload your flat files to a cloud storage bucket, you can add them to a BigQuery table. Under the advanced options, there’s also a way to tell the uploader if your column headings start several rows down in the file so it can build the schema correctly.

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As an example, I’ve uploaded a customer file and want to do some analysis on who checked out as a guest and who created an account.

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With the data in BigQuery, I can write a simple SQL query to isolate customers with an account and a domestic address.

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After the query runs, I can one-click export that subset of my customer data to Google Data Studio to work on some dashboards or visualizations on that specific, more manageable slice of the data.

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BigQuery Resources

You might be reading through this post and are enticed by the prospect of using BigQuery to solve similar problems in your business, but don’t know where to start, or need more learning resources to feel comfortable enabling and working with these integrations. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

GA 360 BigQuery Cookbook

Johan van de Werken from Towards Data Science has a bunch of SQL recipes you can take and repurpose once you get your GA data into BigQuery. This resource was instrumental for me as I was first working with GA 360 data in a database context, and it recreated a lot of the most common reports you would find in the GA UI with some helpful added customizations.

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Firebase BigQuery Unnest Function

Todd Kerpelman from the Firebase Developers blog has a great write-up on unpacking Firebase’s nested table structure which will make writing queries into your data a heck of a lot easier once you understand it!

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Visualizing BigQuery Tables in Google Data Studio

Shameless plug: I’ve also written a step-by-step walkthrough using flat files with weather data on how to visualize your BigQuery tables. You can find that over on Big Data Made Simple.

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Start Querying!

Getting into databases and SQL querying can be really intimidating for marketers, but it’s incredibly empowering not to have to rely on data science and IT teams to get at data sets and start deriving actionable insights out of them. Carve a half-hour of time out of your schedule each week to learn about this technology and find out how you can practically apply it to your business.

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Best Practices of a Successful Content Manager http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/best-practices-of-a-successful-content-manager.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/best-practices-of-a-successful-content-manager.htm#respond Thu, 25 Jun 2020 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53471 Every marketer understands the crucial role high-quality content plays in their marketing strategy. Whether it’s a product description, web page, blog post, or some other form, content is what attracts your audience, helps build trust in your brand, and ultimately elicits an emotional response that leads to a conversion. With such a high demand for […]

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Every marketer understands the crucial role high-quality content plays in their marketing strategy. Whether it’s a product description, web page, blog post, or some other form, content is what attracts your audience, helps build trust in your brand, and ultimately elicits an emotional response that leads to a conversion.

With such a high demand for content, brands need a content manager who can wrap their arms around the planning, creation, and promotion of it all. Certain behaviors are necessary for a content manager to consistently deliver meaningful, relevant content to your audience. In this post, I share some best practices for successful content management.

Have a Strategy You Can Map To

You know you need to produce awesome content. But what kind? Where will it go? What business goals will it support? All of these questions (and more!) can be answered if you have a strategy to guide you.

A content strategy defines the goals your content should meet, how you’ll accomplish them, and how you’ll measure success. It should also identify where you’ll focus your efforts and how all your content will work together across platforms and channels. What this strategy looks like will be different for every content manager, and that’s okay. Some brands may develop a standalone content strategy, while others may prefer to integrate it into their overall marketing plan. Either way, what matters is that you have a guide as you develop, execute, and measure your content efforts.

And, don’t feel like your strategy must be set in stone. Your audience needs, business goals, or industry standards may change, and you should adapt your content to stay relevant to all of it. Have regular check-ins to review and update your strategy to make sure your content still aligns with your overall objectives.

Establish an Ideation Process

You should also create a robust topic ideation process. Your content strategy provides a framework for what you need, and your ideation process lets you get specific about how you execute your content strategy.

What topics should you be covering? What form should it take? Who will create it? The ideation process is the time to get those questions answered, so you can be prepared to source and schedule your content with your contributors.

It’s also time to determine the frequency at which you want to ideate new content. Does it make sense to do this annually? Twice a year? Monthly? At Portent, our content ideation team meets quarterly. We chose this frequency because it gives us the opportunity to be nimble with the content we produce: responding to what subjects are getting the most engagement, what information our clients are looking for, and what industry trends are on the horizon that we should be talking about.

Maintain an Editorial Calendar

When you’re managing content, particularly content you’re getting from multiple contributors, you need a way to actually manage the content. You should use an editorial calendar (also sometimes called a content calendar) to schedule and assign content, stay on top of internal draft and copyediting deadlines, and track your publishing cadence. A calendar also adds transparency to the publishing process because you have a place to manage where your content is coming from and when to expect it. The process also helps your contributors maintain accountability with an easy way to track when tasks are due.

An editorial calendar is also a great resource when you want a quick snapshot of historical content data. Including things like the author, topic area, and keywords you were targeting gives you information to reference when you want to measure organic performance and how people are engaging with your content.

Keep a Robust Tool Kit

As a content manager, you’ll be switching between a few different hats as needs arise. Whether you’re researching keywords for content pieces, copyediting a blog post, or analyzing the traffic and engagement your content is driving, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right tools at your disposal. There are plenty out there, but here is a list of the ones we use regularly at Portent:

  1. Ahrefs for keyword research
  2. Google Analytics for measuring traffic and engagement
  3. Buzzsumo for tracking social trends and engagement
  4. Grammarly for copyediting support
  5. If your brand has one, a TOV guide is a great resource to ensure consistency in brand voice across all of your content

Again, the options are endless, and this is just scratching the surface. If you’re looking for more content research and creation resources, check out this post: The Best Research Tools to Write Killer Content.

Continually Analyze and Audit

Web content is never set-it-and-forget-it. It is a living thing and must constantly evolve in order to stay meaningful and relevant. And as a content manager who is responsible for the success of your content initiatives, you’ll need to make sure your content is adapting to meet changing demands.

Regularly analyzing traffic and engagement is a great place to start. With that information, you can see what resonates with your audience, what information they are looking for, and how your content is playing a role in your conversion goals.

Get into the habit of regularly auditing your content as well. A content audit is a great way to shed light on the qualitative aspects of your existing content inventory. The audit can illuminate ways to improve stale or outdated content or identify gaps in content that your users are looking for. Set up a frequency for auditing your content, based on the type of content you are evaluating.

Practice Empathy

Empathy is a consistently hot topic when it comes to content marketing, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it here. One of the most important things a content manager can do to be successful is to practice empathy.

First, you need empathy for your audience. Understand how they think, what information and resources they need, and what motivates them to take action. This will lay the groundwork for identifying the right content to provide your users when they need it, and where they are looking for it.

You’ll need empathy for your content creators and internal collaborators as well. The best quality content comes from understanding what your subject-matter experts are passionate about and aligning that with your content strategy.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the type of content you are managing or producing, and how it works to support your overall content goals, every content manager must be able to execute strategy, meet deadlines, and drive meaningful content forward.

Your content should engage your audience and build your brand. Following the best practices outlined in this article will establish a foundation for continued success.

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How to Write a Great Title Tag, and Why They Are Important http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/seo/how-to-write-a-great-title-tag-and-why-they-are-important.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/seo/how-to-write-a-great-title-tag-and-why-they-are-important.htm#respond Wed, 24 Jun 2020 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53481 You have probably heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet, 48% of people report that a cover plays a major role when choosing a book to buy. Although there’s more than meets the eye, a cover is a quick way for users to scan through books to make a selection. When […]

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You have probably heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yet, 48% of people report that a cover plays a major role when choosing a book to buy. Although there’s more than meets the eye, a cover is a quick way for users to scan through books to make a selection.

When it comes to the web, we don’t have the same aesthetic elements to base our decisions. When it comes to organic search, one of the only indicators we can look at to select a page from millions of options is a page’s title tag.

In this article, I will show you the importance of a title tag and how to craft your own, but first, let’s start with the basics.

What Is a Title Tag?

In web terms, the ‘title tag’ is a hidden bit of code on your page that identifies the title of a landing page, blog post, or another piece of content by placing ‘<title>’ and ‘</title>’ on either side of the text. By editing the text in between you change what appears in the search engines, as well as the title bar of a webpage:

<title>Portent – An Integrated Digital Marketing Agency in Seattle</title>

You can locate the title of a page in HTML format by right-clicking and selecting “inspect” on a particular site:

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But it is presented in front of the user as the large text in a SERP and the web browser tabs:

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Writing a good title tag is vital because, as you can see, it shows up in many locations along the user journey. However, there are plenty of other reasons title tags are essential when creating digital content.

Why Are Title Tags Important?

The title tag serves as one of the most powerful on-page ranking factors and is the ultimate arbiter of both visibility and clickability.

It is important for Google to understand your title tag in order to rank your page’s visibility in the SERPs. The better job your title tag does at defining your page’s content, the more likely Google will put it in front of the user.

Title tags play an important role in UX as well. As users scan through the search results, they are looking to find the best match for their query. It is crucial that your title tag shows up in the SERPs and appeals to them above the rest. Keep in mind, a title tag can be catchy and intriguing, but if it does not address what the article is about, you are not adding value to the user.

A good title tag will get your search ranking clicked. A bad one will likely drive away potential visitors.

Title Tag Elements and Best Practices

A good title tag can help your website rank high and gain traffic. Use the following best practices for each element as a rule of thumb to optimize your title tags to appeal to both your users and search engines.

Keywords

When it comes to writing your title tag, it is imperative to conduct keyword research to understand what users are searching for in order to best match them with your content. Use research tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs to discover keywords your content can rank for based on search volume and keyword difficulty. These tools can also help you find potential opportunities by discovering what other pages with similar content rank for and incorporate those keywords into your title. But, make sure you only select keywords that communicate what your site actually contains.

Pay Attention to Structure

When it comes to the structure of a title tag, prioritize your keywords and place them near the beginning. This helps Google understand what is most relevant to the user and better match their intent.

The construction of a title tag could include the product, company name, location, or article title; and separate each phrase with dashes, colons, or pipe symbols (a personal favorite).

Capitalization

Since title tags serve as the user’s first impression of your page, consider proper capitalization. Although there is no “wrong” way to capitalize a title tag, we recommend writing your title tags in the title case to be the most readable. Using all caps takes up more pixels from your title’s length and could come off as aggressive. There are a variety of title capitalization tools to assure that your text is written in the title case.

Length

Length can make a significant impact on how your title tag appears in the SERPs. If your title tag is too long, your text will get cut off and replaced by ellipses, also known as title tag truncation.

To avoid losing the keywords you put so much effort into including, we recommend keeping your title tag length under 60 characters or 545 pixels. Portent’s SERP preview tool can help monitor your title tag length as you write it so you can have a clear visual of the final product.

Meta Tags

It can be tricky and nearly impossible to communicate the contents of your page by only using 60 characters, so take advantage of the digital real estate your meta tag provides. Along with title tags, meta tags have a character requirement, however, you can use up to 160 characters in this description. Meta tags are used to describe the contents of a page and give the user a clear idea of what they will gain from visiting the site when they click through.

Use the keywords and information you can include in your meta tag in order to define your page contents while staying inside the character limit. Meta tags are also a ranking factor, so be sure to include additional high-priority keywords and write with the user’s intent in mind.

The Wrap Up

When writing tags, the formulas and best practices to consider can differ between each business. These tips can help you check in to make sure your user can get an idea of your content by the keywords your title includes—the more specific and unique, the better.

Although you can’t always judge a book by its cover, you should still be able to judge a webpage by its title tag.

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Why Your Brand Standards Should Include a Contrast Guide http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/design-dev/why-your-brand-standards-should-include-a-contrast-guide.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/design-dev/why-your-brand-standards-should-include-a-contrast-guide.htm#respond Tue, 23 Jun 2020 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=53439 We, the people who work at Portent, have been pushing our clients to pay close attention to accessibility concerns. We know access affects their performance and their public image. For us, most clients show up with a recipe for public image: their brand guidelines. When working with clients on accessibility concerns, these brand guidelines can […]

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We, the people who work at Portent, have been pushing our clients to pay close attention to accessibility concerns. We know access affects their performance and their public image.

For us, most clients show up with a recipe for public image: their brand guidelines. When working with clients on accessibility concerns, these brand guidelines can present a familiar roadblock—proper color contrast. I am speaking as a developer/designer inside an agency that services clients, but this same issue can show up if you are an in-house employee with internal stakeholders.

Brand guidelines may dictate poorly-contrasted combinations; combinations designed to strike emotional chords with customers, look great on a bottle or billboard but leave users with visual impairments behind. It is also possible that someone else on the project wants to use a brand color combination that is not compliant and needs to be convinced to use a lighter, more neutral shade.

Color has a way of creating emotional arguments, and those arguments need to be settled with evidence. Practically and emotionally, color is different for everyone. I have found that the easiest way to move out of the emotional side of the argument is to provide some easily-glanced facts about how compliant one color is with another.

What I have for you is a template. A template that you can use to lay out color combinations and record the results. A template that I use to provide the data necessary to settle arguments around non-compliant color combinations. So without further ado…

The Files

Here are those template files. We’ll get into how to use them next:

Adobe XD
SVG
PDF

Note: Adobe XD is our preferred design platform, so the XD file will offer the cleanest use. For those using something like Sketch or Illustrator the SVG file should do you fine, and I threw in a PDF version just in case.

Information Sources

Before we move on to using the template, I’d like to share where some of the information I’m using is coming from. You can get contrast information from a handful of places online. My current favorite is color.review.

The Pass/Fail criteria is from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. If you need to reference for minimum contrast guidelines, you can find those within Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.3: Contrast (Minimum).

Using the Template

The template is intended to focus on a single color per page/artboard. Ideally, you would have multiple pages, one for each color you need to explore. The template is made up of three sections:

  1. Color name and information
  2. Scheme interactions
  3. Text interactions

Color Name and Information

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This section is for general information. Name of the color, a visual representation of the color, and some notes, which should be specific to the needs of the project or the argument you’re trying to settle. Overall, nothing spectacular here, just bookkeeping.

However, regardless of how you adapt this template to your needs, I suggest keeping category and usage information. These color guides need to last either through a full engagement or the life of a brand spec; that could be months or years. Quick tags on usage or grouping are valuable reference material as time goes on. Some examples of tags are:

Category Examples

  • Brand color
  • Application color
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Accent
  • Important
  • Light
  • Dark

Usage Examples

  • Background color
  • Buttons
  • Links
  • Logo
  • Light text color
  • Dark text color

Scheme Interactions

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The scheme interactions area is where all of the color information is kept. For me, this is the most important section as this is where all the conversation ending information is held.

In the example, the color in question is Portent Blue. Each swatch in this area is a different brand color with a “drop” of Portent Blue in the center. Displayed underneath is the contrast ratio between the two colors and pass/fail information for each WCAG contrast criteria. This small chart supplies a lot of information, and it takes away anecdotal arguments such as, “Well, I can see that just fine,” or “That looks close enough.” The numbers are right there for everyone to see, and the use cases are defined.

A warning: cold hard facts are useful, however sometimes they also require a good narrative to be meaningful. Let’s say my client (or your stakeholders) wanted the color of Portent Blue as the background color for a button ideally with the color Clear Blue as the text color. Here is an example of how I might narrate this section for a client:

“The color of Portent Blue, an accent color, has very low contrast against three other brand colors, Navy, Clear Blue, and Pink. The combination of Clear Blue and Portent Blue might look ok to most eyes, but the contrast ratio shows that this combination fails all usage criteria. However, Portent Blue can be used effectively over the neutral colors of light grey and white.”

Text Interactions

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The last section is text interactions. This section reiterates most of the contrast and criteria information from the scheme interactions section but with one key difference: text.

While the scheme interactions show the global picture of the colors, text interactions expose whether or not content would be legible. If someone struggles to read the sample for a particular swatch, you will likely not hear further suggestions about that combination. You can also lean into these moments of inability and use them as a space to build empathy around your users’ needs and access.

Ideally, I would suggest using the brand typeface when building the examples in this section, but that is not always necessary. If the color combination isn’t compliant; It will not suddenly be compliant with a different typeface.

The Void

You may have noticed a big ol’ chunk of white space in the template under Scheme Interactions. Nothing is missing from the document; the text interactions section just adds some length.

If the open space causes concern, I have some parting recommendations for how to use that extra space:

  • Logo color interactions
  • UI Element interactions (arrows, icons, etc.)
  • Various text interactions over light or dark images
  • An opportunity to contemplate the emptiness between you and that one person in your senior yearbook that you FEEL like you knew but you never introduced yourself to and you just got a recommended friend notification on Facebook because your closest friend added them, and you wonder, “They never talked to each other… are they friends now? Is this just friend collecting? *gasp* ARE THEY DATING?!”

And that is it. Concise information can be the way through emotional arguments. This template has helped me get people on the right side of accessibility; I hope it does the same for you.

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The Digital Marketing Stack: Channels http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/stack-channels.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/stack-channels.htm#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:20:18 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=28363 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. This is the very last post in the Digital Marketing Stack series! Part 1: The Digital Marketing StackPart 2: InfrastructurePart 3: AnalyticsPart 4: Content Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned ← You are here The […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

This is the very last post in the Digital Marketing Stack series!

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned ← You are here

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The marketing channels are your amplifiers.

They are the machinery that gets your content delivered to your audience. The channels are at the top of the Stack because they depend on all the elements. Treat the channels as the communication lines to your audience.

Content is what the audience receives on those channels. Your infrastructure ensures that you can deliver content and receive visitors when they respond. Analytics provides the data around how people consume the content you’ve delivered.

There are three basic channel types: paid, earned, and owned. Each channel creates media on behalf of your brand.

Paid media represents any coverage or communication you must buy to receive.

Most often in digital marketing, this is done through a platform you spend money on to buy advertising placement.

Common paid media types in today’s digital landscape include:

Paid media on the digital side comes in many forms and from many places. There are thousands of places to buy promotion on the web; finding the right mix of budget, unit price, and placement is the key for digital media buyers.

Paid media is the channel where you can get the fastest response to your content. The ability to segment and scale a highly-targeted audience and measure performance via paid channels is high, but it’s also a channel that can bring on substantial financial risk if not managed correctly. Advertising dollars can add up quickly, and without a solid return, that spend is hard to justify.

Many paid opportunities tend to drive traffic towards the bottom of the funnel to people who are ready to interact and convert. However, programmatic and content-related promotions are fantastic ways to fill the top of the funnel for a holistic approach to using this channel.

Earned Media

Earned media is gained by being useful, creating community, and building authority in specific categories or topics.

Common earned media traffic sources in today’s digital landscape include:

  • Organic search listings (SEO)
  • Digital PR through news media outlets
  • Social media mentions, interactions, and comments
  • Citations and links from other websites

Gaining substantial earned media takes time, but it scales better than any other channel. The longevity of it, when done right, can last for years to come. Depending on your goals and your timeline, your aim should be to have earned media become the highest portion of traffic to your site.

Owned Media

Owned media is the stuff you fully control or could control if you wanted.

For example:

  • Your website
  • Your social media accounts
  • User-generated content (if licensed correctly)
  • Your house e-mail list

Owned media is more at the mercy of infrastructure than any other channel. On the plus side, it should be more measurable and easier to control.

Tying it All Together

Effective organizations and marketers navigate the Marketing Stack every day, whether they know it or not. Sure, there are internal politics, shifting goals and priorities, and regulations and laws that direct our path. But at the end of the day, digital marketers are navigating this Marketing Stack.

When done effectively, marketers arm themselves with the ability to deliver powerful communication to audiences at exactly the right time. That’s how sustainable businesses are fueled through marketing. It all comes back to the problem you are trying to solve and the solution you have for those in need. The marketing Stack provides the framework to deliver that solution.

Note: Read a bit more about the channels and compare them to other parts of the Stack in our Marketing Stack Explorer.

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned ← You are here

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The Digital Marketing Stack: Content http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/stack-content.htm http://www.10tiangua.com/blog/internet-marketing/stack-content.htm#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2020 14:15:46 +0000 http://www.10tiangua.com/?p=28361 This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020. In Part 3, I talked about analytics. In this post, I’ll finally talk about content. This is content, by the way. Part 1: The Digital Marketing StackPart 2: InfrastructurePart 3: Analytics Part 4: Content ← You are herePart […]

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This series was originally written by Ian Lurie in 2015 and updated by Chad Kearns in 2020.

In Part 3, I talked about analytics. In this post, I’ll finally talk about content. This is content, by the way.

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content ← You are here
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned

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No content, no marketing.

Infrastructure delivers your content. Your analytics set up tells you how it’s resonating. And the channels are how you get your content out for consumption.

That puts content squarely in the middle of the Stack and as an essential element in all things marketing.

What Is Content?

Content is way more than the blog posts you write.

Any interaction that a person has with your brand contains some type of content.

Content is included in any information consumed by your audience. Think about all the interaction points some could have with your brand. All of those points contain content.

  • Ad copy
  • Social media posts and interactions
  • Product descriptions
  • Billboards
  • Videos
  • Podcasts or news features
  • Email
  • Blog posts (yes, those too)
  • Customer support responses

Every time someone is prompted to think about your brand, there is a source of content to trigger that interaction.

Where Content Lives

Here’s a hint: Everywhere.

Some of this content lives on your site. A lot of it lives off your site.

Either way, cohesion across content sources and mediums should be what you’re aiming for.

When thinking about content, planning a strategy, or running a campaign, think about every place where your content could show up—it’s not just your site.

About Content Strategy

Content strategy is critical.

It’s not a calendar. It’s a long-term guide to creation and production. When executed correctly, driving an effective content strategy builds brand followers at every stage of the marketing funnel.

Effective content marketing will take a long time to bear fruit. Sure, you can hit on a “viral” piece of content and see a nice spike in sales, visitors, notoriety, etc. but that spike will probably be short-lived. Your approach to content marketing should be a gradual build-up. Building authority in a particular space takes time and resilience to stay at it, but when built effectively, it will become your most powerful marketing asset.

In Marketing, Content Only Matters If It Helps

The content you produce has to help the business by growing your audience, selling stuff, or otherwise accelerating the organization towards its goals.

That means:

  • You have to publish it
  • It has to have a reason for existence
  • It has to be good
  • You can’t just pound your audience with stupid sales pitches

Go forth. Create content. Just make sure it doesn’t suck.

Note: Read a bit more about content and compare it to other parts of the Stack in our Marketing Stack Explorer.

Part 1: The Digital Marketing Stack
Part 2: Infrastructure
Part 3: Analytics
Part 4: Content ← You are here
Part 5: The Channels – Paid, Earned and Owned

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